Fact vs. Fiction About Joint Replacement

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Are myths about joint replacement stopping you from getting relief from nagging joint pain? Don't be fooled. When pain in your knees or hips interferes with your daily routine, it's time to learn the facts about life-changing options for pain relief. Many Houstonians suffer from joint pain, and fears - that are unfounded - can prevent or postpone them from seeking help.

Memorial Hermann Joint Center's team of affiliated specialists is trained to provide an individualized treatment plan for each patient, offering solutions and information that separate the facts from fiction.

I'm Too Young or Too Old for Joint Replacement

Age is relative when it comes to joint replacement. There is no magic age for joint replacement and it's not unheard of for a 20-year-old or a 95-year-old to benefit from joint replacement. The best time for joint replacement is when you are experiencing chronic pain and are no longer able to enjoy an active lifestyle. Consider your quality of life. If you have difficulty walking and enjoying normal daily activities, it is time to explore options for relief. There are patients today in their 90s who are still healthy, live independently and can get pain relief so they can continue to live independently.

Joint Implants Don't Last Very Long

New, innovative materials make implants more dependable and long lasting as well as open the door of opportunity for patients, both young and old. Memorial Hermann Joint Center's affiliated staff acknowledges that in the past typically implants did not last longer than 10 years. With advances in implant materials and design, hip implants today can last 25 to 30 years and knee implants 15 to 20 years. In addition to implant longevity, most patients enjoy a better level of function and less pain after surgery.

It's Best to Wait to See a Doctor When I Can't Walk Anymore

A lot of problems start small, and if a patient waits too long, the problem can worsen. The cause of your pain in your knee or hip may be easy to solve and you may only need an injection. Surgery is not always the best option, and we always explore nonsurgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications or physical therapy prior to surgery. Many patients put off seeing a doctor. If you wait too long, there may be other health issues to consider. You're also extending the months, and possibly years, of chronic pain.

Recovery from Joint Replacement is Long and Painful

There are many reasons why recovery from joint replacement is faster now. There are better surgical techniques and better instruments, and our incisions are much smaller. We have better pain management, and this typically leads to a more rapid recovery.

Most patients are out of bed faster, usually the same day of surgery, and back to normal activities within a few weeks. Patients can usually return to moderate activities such as walking, biking or swimming in four to six weeks, with full recovery extending up to six months. Other patients may recover sooner.

For more information on joint replacement, visit memorialhermann.org/joint or call (713) 272-1888.